On Christmas Eve

by Liz Rosenberg

It was a long drive to Aunt Cleo's house, but that was okay, it was Christmas Eve. It began to snow lightly as they crossed the state line, and then the storm grew thicker, until they were forced to pull over and spend Christmas Eve at a motel, a motel without a chimney--or even a mailbox.

As they lay in the dark motel room, it didn't feel like Christmas. But a young boy's Christmas wish finds its way to Santa, and creates a night he will remember forever.

Roaring Brook

ISBN #: 0-7613-2707X

Reviews and Honors

"Clapp's stunning illustrations make readers into believers: in one spread that is pure magic, the child's face is lit with joy as Santa flings toys and packages into the room, each gift surrounded by golden light. Another memorable spread shows Santa pointing at the starry sky, where mysterious, misty letters spell out the beginnings of Christmas wishes. The understated text, nighttime setting, and varied perspectives will remind many of Van Allsburg's Polar Express, but this Christmas Eve tale creates a magic all its own."

** A Starred Review from Kirkus Reviews **

Listed as a "modern favorite" in

Valerie & Walter's Best Books for Children 2nd Ed : A Lively, Opinionated Guide by Walter M. Mayes

"the best Christmas book this year."
Walter the Giant Storyteller

"With a moving blend of realism and mystery, this picture book captures the Christmas holiday spirit. […] The spare words, with just the right details, and the powerful pictures, filled with shifting light, set the close-up portraits of the contemporary family--the boy, his parents, his older brother, and his baby sister--against the wild, stormy night. One of the letters in the motel's neon sign has gone out, but the pictures show a neon star flashing above the letters. The magic is focused on Santa, but there's also just a hint of that other Christmas mystery about a family that sought shelter at the inn."


"The paintings are luminous and evocative. In the earlier scenes, the night is full of shadows with just a flash of red from the little boy's scarf and shirt. By the time Santa appears, the boy's face is glowing with joy and color fills the scene. The illustrations really carry this book, infusing it with the magic of Christmas."

Children's Literature

"The milieu, strong characterizations, and realistic illustrations in icy blues and greens make this Christmas tale stand out."

Horn Book

"... Clapp imbues some magic into the night with his hyperrealistic figures steeped in shadows cast by eerie light from motel neon and moonlight-mottled snowflakes."

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books